It’s safe to say that Nantucket, a small island just about 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod known for its pristine beaches, uniform shingled houses, and cobblestone streets, is a coastal New England gem. Although Nantucket is known as a summer destination, I have visited the island year-round, and I’m ready to reveal my secret: Fall is the best time of year to visit.
After Labor Day, you will find that the large crowds are gone, the prices on stays has significantly decreased, you can walk into the island’s best restaurants without a reservation, there is still a lot to do, and best of all – you’ll get summer-like temps and sunshine, without the humidity!
Where to Stay
Aside from being extremely accessible as Nantucket’s only year-round hotel, the accommodations and amenities at The Nantucket Hotel & Resort are unparalleled. The Nantucket is a true resort (which is rare to find on the island) complete with concierge services, a fitness club, a spa, a pool, a gift shop, a full-service restaurant, and more. The hotel also has amenities such as a complimentary shuttle services to and from the ferry and complimentary breakfast during the off-season at their on-site restaurant, Breeze.
The hotel staff are extremely friendly, welcoming, and available to assist you at all times. They will truly make you feel at home throughout the duration of your stay, and are extremely knowledgeable about all that Nantucket has to offer.
The location of the hotel is less than 10 minutes by foot to town, where you will find Nantucket’s famous cobblestone streets lined with premium shops & restaurants. We found it very easy to walk to and from the hotel while shopping, dinner, and exploring throughout town.
One of my favorite parts about the hotel is its has a beautiful front deck. The deck is the perfect spot to read a book in the morning or to enjoy a cocktail by the fire pits in the evening.
In the mornings, you will find a complementary coffee & tea bar in the lobby to help get your day started! The lobby of the hotel is well appointed with comfortable furniture and plenty of nooks and crannies to enjoy privacy. In my case, I had to take a conference call after we checked out, and I was easily able to find plenty of space to do so.
To save the best for last, the accommodations of the hotel are beautifully decorated, comfortable, and big enough for the whole family! With a king bed, a pull-out couch, a pull-down twin, and a twin bed in the corner alcove, our one-bedroom suite could easily sleep a family of 6.
Our suite was complete with a full living room, a dining area, and a sizeable kitchenette equipped with coffee machine (and coffee!), a sink, a microwave, a refrigerator, a toast, and a dishwasher (perfect for late-night restaurant leftovers!).
And who doesn’t love a hotel robe? Each room is stocked with a cozy room and slippers for each guest, perfect for crisp fall mornings!
WHere to eat
If you are looking for a delicious and healthy breakfast or lunch, Lemon Press is my go-to. Lemon Press is one of my favorites spots on the island, and I typically end up there once a day, whether it be for a full breakfast or for a quick latte or a smoothie. They have a little bit of everything including speciality coffees, smoothies, juices, acai bowls, breakfast bowls, salads, sandwiches, cocktails, & more.
Whether you are staying at The Nantucket Hotel or not, the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Breeze, is a must-try. Specializing in contemporary New England Coastal cuisine, I can always find something I like on the rotating seasonal menu. This time, I enjoyed their complementary breakfast of Organic Scrambled Eggs & Pancakes. Like the hotel, this restaurant is open year-round.
When the summer harbor-side restaurants like Cru have closed for the season, it’s time to seek out cozy downtown restaurants that will serve you a warming pasta & a great glass of Italian red wine. Ventuno is the signature Italian restaurant on the island. They have amazing seasonal cocktails, a great wine list, delicious antipasti, and to-die-for fresh pasta dishes.
I highly recommend the Polpette (pork & beef meatball appetizer) and the Strozzapreti (pasta w/ chicken sausage & broccoli rabe). Especially handy if you fill up on appetizers, or antipasti, like we did, they serve their pasta dishes in full or half sizes. Two half sizes was a perfect amount for the two of us after two appetizers.
Where to Shop
If you have walked down Nantucket Town’s cobblestone streets, you have no-doubt seen the array of speciality shops & boutiques that Nantucket has to offer. The shopping scene offers everything from favorites like Vineyard Vines & Lilly Pulitzer, to local bookstores, gift shops, & more.
Being open on the island since 1968, Nantucket Looms is a classic. I’m a sucker for modern coastal interior, and I appreciate the history of a long lasting staple shop. This time, I bought one of their famous Boatneck Sweaters (pictured on the right), that haven’t changed since 1969 – talk about classic!
I am a huge bookworm. To me, there is nothing like wandering through a bookstore, handling physical books, and Mitchell’s Book Corner is one of my favorites. I’ve been on a big Elin Hilderbrand kick this past year because I love reading stories based on my favorite island. If you haven’t read her books, most of Elin Hilderbrand’s books take place on Nantucket, and highlight restaurants & landmarks on the island. Go upstairs at Mitchell’s Book Corner, and you will find autographed copies of almost her collection!
The Nantucket Hotel & Resort
The shop in the hotel lobby at The Nantucket Hotel & Resort is a great place to find souvenirs for yourself and gifts for the whole family. This time of year, I am always thinking about Christmas presents, and what’s better bringing back a souvenir from your favorite vacation?? We came home with a couple of hats and a sweatshirt.
WHat to do
Cisco Brewers is always a must-visit when on Nantucket, but in the fall – the crowds are gone and you will always find a table! The brewery is located about two miles from town, which makes for an easy bike ride, uber ride, or if your timing aligns, take the free shuttle from town.
The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of Cisco Brewers is an open outdoor area with picnic tables, beautiful gardens, live music, food trucks, and of course their signature beers and cocktails.
I cannot get enough of the “Madaket Mule” made with ginger purée. If it’s lunch time, order some oysters and fish & chips from the food trucks!
Nantucket is home to miles and miles of pristine & extremely unique conservation lands. You may not think of walking trails when you think of Nantucket, but Nantucket Conservation Foundation currently owns over 9,000 acres of conservation lands on the island, much of which is lines with hiking & walking trails. Download the “ACKTrails” iPhone app by Nantucket Conservation Foundation to find directions, maps, & online guides to your soon-to-be favorite adventures.
In my opinion, fall is the best time of year to explore the island in this manor because the weather is just right, unlike the hot, humid summer months.
Being an island, Nantucket is host to so many beautiful beaches. If you can have time during your trip, visit one of the island’s beaches. Personally, I like the beaches on the South Shore of the island best because of their sandy shores, big waves, & sunset views. Pictured above is Ladies beach.
During the fall season, the beaches will be especially empty and available to you for a late-season swim or just a sunset walk.
Take a Yoga Class at The Nantucket Club
The Nantucket Hotel & Resort has a full-service gym called The Nantucket Club, complete with personal training, rows of gym equipment, and yoga & fitness classes. If you are staying at the yoga, catch a morning yoga class to ease into your day!
Enjoy your trip to Nantucket, and my DMs on Instagram are always open if you have any Nantucket questions!
If you are visiting Nantucket in the summer, check out my blog post Top 5 Things to Do on Nantucket.